Business Exit -

Ten essential financial tips for entrepreneurs planning to exit their business

A successful business exit requires careful financial planning and strategic decision-making. Read our top tips to help you plan for this change.


21st September 2023


As an entrepreneur, the journey to build and grow a successful business can be an exhilarating and challenging journey. Yet, the time may come when you contemplate an exit, whether through selling your business, stepping back to pursue new ventures, or transitioning to new leadership.

A successful business exit requires careful financial planning and strategic decision-making. Arbuthnot Latham offers essential financial tips to empower entrepreneurs to confidently navigate this pivotal phase and seize opportunities for a prosperous future.

1. Understand how much your business is worth

Embark on the exit journey by clearly understanding your business's true value. Partner with experts who can conduct a comprehensive business valuation, considering financial metrics, market conditions, and growth potential. A realistic valuation is essential for making informed decisions and attracting suitable potential buyers or investors.

2. Plan your exit strategy early

A successful exit requires meticulous planning well in advance, but the choice of different business exit strategies can be overwhelming: selling your stake, family succession, management and employee buyouts, initial public offerings to name a few. Develop a comprehensive exit strategy that aligns with your personal and financial goals and creates a succession plan for the business before handing over the baton.

3. Evaluate tax implications

Exiting your business may have significant tax implications. Work with tax advisers who can guide you on the most tax-efficient exit strategies and help you manage any potential tax liabilities.

4. Optimise business performance

A thriving business is more attractive to potential buyers or investors. Prioritise optimising your business performance, strengthening financials, and enhancing operational efficiency with meticulous forward planning before initiating the exit process.

5. Preserve business confidentiality

Maintain strict confidentiality throughout the exit process to safeguard your business's reputation and prevent disruptions to day-to-day operations. Working with experienced advisers can help you manage confidentiality effectively.

6. Seek advice 

Speak to business owners who have been through this journey. Their learnings are invaluable. Also, ensure you have trusted advisers to support you. We can work with your existing legal or tax advisers or use our network to make introductions. The value of hearing the experiences of clients who have already trodden the business exit path should never be underestimated.

7. Identify the right buyer or successor

Finding the right buyer or successor is crucial to ensuring a smooth transition and the continuity of your business legacy, while creating value for yourself and your team is important. Seek professional advice to identify potential buyers or successors who align with your business vision and values.

8. Negotiate wisely

Astutely navigate the negotiation process. Set clear objectives and understand your priorities, whether maximising the sale price or securing the best deal structure. Skilled negotiators can advocate for your interests effectively.

9. Consider financial planning

Planning should start well before the business exit. Consider your financial goals, personal aspirations, and potential investment opportunities. Engage wealth advisers who can help you create a comprehensive financial plan and set the stage for a new chapter of prosperity.

10. Address employee and stakeholder concerns

While the sale process may need to be confidential, it is important, where possible, to communicate transparently with your key employees and stakeholders throughout the exit process to address their concerns and ensure a smooth transition to maintain trust and support.

The decision to exit your business marks a significant turning point in your entrepreneurial journey. At Arbuthnot Latham, we understand the importance of a well-planned and financially savvy exit.

Paul Clifton, Director, Wealth Planning, Arbuthnot Latham said:

“As an entrepreneur, you have probably worked from dawn to dusk building your business. Exiting it, however, requires a slightly different approach. You will still need to demonstrate the energy, diligence, and commitment you have shown so far, but now is the time to engage the right support, the right expertise that allows you to exit successfully and plan the next stage of your life.”

The satisfaction of creating or building a business means transferring the business to people you can trust to maintain its values – your legacy deserves nothing less.



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